Taking one more step toward opening cruising, Royal Caribbean Group in its quarterly report today announced it will be allowing vaccinated guests on voyages of five days or less to board without Covid testing — and is “transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us.”.
Unvaccinated guests and those sailing six nights or longer will continue to need to present proof of a negative test.
Nestled quietly in the Continued Operational Ramp-Up section of its quarterly results, released today, the Group said:
“Since our return to service last year, we have seen more than 3 million guests enjoy cruise vacations responsibly, under an evolving operating environment,” said Royal Caribbean Group president and CEO Jason Liberty. “Last week, the CDC ended its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. Based on this change, we are continuing to adapt our protocols to align more closely with how the rest of society and other travel and leisure businesses are operating. This means that we’re transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us while always working with our destination partners to meet their regulations. Starting Aug. 8, testing will be required for unvaccinated guests on all voyages and for vaccinated guests only on voyages that are six nights or longer. ”
The announcement comes as welcome news to many customers preparing to board Adventure of the Seas’ August 13 five-night itinerary from Port Liberty, NJ. Many had noted on their Facebook page that a recent change in policy by insurance providers no longer covers Covid testing; some suggested lying and saying you were being tested because you were exposed rather than paying $50 or more per person for the test.
In its financial reporting, meanwhile, RCL said it had a second-quarter 2022 net loss of $0.5 billion and loss per share of $2.05—results that were “meaningfully ahead of the company’s expectations driven by accelerating and strong close-in demand, further improvement in onboard revenue and better cost performance.”
Operating cash flow and EBITDA were positive for the quarter.
“Consumers’ propensity to travel and cruise remains strong. We continue to see a robust and accelerating demand environment for cruising and onboard spend. Cruising remains a very attractive value proposition for vacationers, and today we have an opportunity to further close the value gap to other land-based vacation offerings,” Liberty said.
The report also said
- Load factors in the second quarter were 82% overall, with June sailings reaching almost 90%.
- The company expects load factors will average approximately 95% in the third quarter and increase to triple digits by year-end.
- Booking volumes received in the second quarter for the back half of 2022 sailings remained significantly higher than booking volumes received in the second quarter of 2019 for the back half of 2019.
- The second half of 2022 is booked below historical ranges but at higher prices than 2019, with and without future cruise credits (FCCs).
- For 2023, all quarters are currently booked within historical ranges at record pricing.
- For the third quarter of 2022 and based on current currency exchange rates, fuel rates, and interest rates, the company expects to generate approximately $2.9 billion – $3.0 billion in Total Revenues, Adjusted EBITDA of $700 million – $750 million, and Adjusted Earnings Per Share of $0.05 – $0.25.
- Third quarter load factors are expected to average approximately 95%, with itineraries in North America (including the Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda, West Coast, and Canada) averaging about 100%.
- Approximately 60% of the FCC balance accumulated since the start of the pandemic has been redeemed. Of the redeemed FCCs, about half have already sailed, resulting in revenue being recognized. For new bookings, the Group has returned to typical booking and cancellation policies, which were relaxed during the pandemic.